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2 Corinthians 2 (ESV)
1 For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you.
2 For if I cause you pain,
who is there to make me glad
but the one whom I have pained?
3 And I wrote as I did,
so that when I came I might not suffer pain
from those who should have made me rejoice,
I felt sure of all of you,
4 For I wrote to you
out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears,
to cause you pain
but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
5 Now if anyone has caused pain,
he has caused it not to me,
but in some measure—
not to put it too severely—
to all of you.
6 For such a one,
this punishment by the majority is enough,
7 so you should rather
turn to forgive and comfort him,
or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.
9 For this is why I wrote,
that I might test you
and know whether you are obedient in everything.
whom you forgive,
I also forgive.
what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything,
for your sake
in the presence of Christ,
11 so that
we would not be outwitted by Satan;
for we are not ignorant of his designs.
12 When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ,
even though a door was opened for me in the Lord,
13 my spirit was not at rest
because I did not find my brother Titus there.
So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.
14 But thanks be to God,
who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession,
and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
15 For we are the aroma of Christ
among those who are being saved
and among those who are perishing,
16 to one a fragrance from death to death,
to the other a fragrance from life to life.
Who is sufficient for these things?
17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word,
but as men of sincerity,
as commissioned by God,
in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
2 Corinthians 2 Summary
This chapter begins in the middle of a paragraph in which Paul is telling the Corinthians why he's not coming back in person, because their previous visit was too 'painful (v1).' It's not that Paul didn't love this church (v4), but it just seems that these people wanted to be part of the church but at the same time didn't want to give up their sinful lifestyles.
Paul goes on to describe Christians as captives in Christ's triumphal procession (v14). A victorious general would often return to Rome by way of Corinth and triumphantly parade the spoils of his latest victory, including the best of the captives being brought back to serve the Roman empire. You and I are those who've been 'captured' in Christ's victory over sin and death, and now we're paraded before the Father so that we can be used in His Kingdom.
Have you ever made a decision that just didn't sit well with you? That discontentment you feel might be God nudging you in a different direction, like what He did here with Paul.
In v12, it seems clear that God called Paul to Troas. Paul says that the Lord had opened the door for him to go there.
But after a time, Paul still had no peace. It's interesting how this short little passage shows that God uses both positive (opens a door) and negative (withholds peace) stimuli to help us align ourselves with His will.
The common thread that ties this short chapter together is our need to live completely in service and allegiance to Christ. Paul is not 'following his heart,' be it in offering forgiveness or determining whether to go or stay, rather Paul can trust his instincts because his mind and will are so aligned with God.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is our Father who leads us in Christ our Lord;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will be the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing (v15).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: